Senate candidate argues COVID-19 hurt campaign, Secretary of State challenges judge’s ruling

Politics

DENVER (KDVR) — A Colorado U.S. Senate candidate says COVID-19 forced her to stop collecting signatures, causing her to come up short of the number required to get on the primary ballot.

“As you can imagine, we were walking around asking people with full PPE equipment on and they’re not wanting to stop and you can understand why,” said Michelle Ferrigno-Warren.

A judge ruled earlier this month Ferrigno-Warren complied with Colorado election code and should be allowed on the ballot.

What seemed like a victory for her was quickly opposed by Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who filed an appeal to the judge’s ruling last week.

Ferrigno-Warren said she collected just over 8,000 signatures — more than 2,000 shy of the typically required 10,500 — although just around 5,500 were verified.

In the appeal, Griswold points out other candidates, including a democrat, successfully met the signature threshold.

Ferrigno-Warren’s attorney and campaign policy director says it’s difficult to lean on the letter of the law during an unprecedented time.

“And apply that to the real life on the ground changes that were happening daily that we didn’t even grasp the full nature of until after the fact,” said Jay Athanasiou.

Athanasiou says the Supreme Court can choose to deny the appeal or review the case. She expects a decision will be made quickly as primary ballots must be filed by May 7.

We received this statement from the Secretary of State’s Office on Monday:

“The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office recognizes the challenges posed by the coronavirus. Our democratic processes must remain accessible and fair. When considering candidate petitioning cases during COVID disaster declarations, we believe that Colorado courts should apply a uniform standard across the board out of fairness to all candidates. That’s why the Secretary of State’s Office is appealing the Ferrigno Warren District Court case. Given the gravity of this decision, the Colorado Supreme Court should have the opportunity to weigh in and we hope it will issue a uniform standard that can be applied to all similar cases.”

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